A religious decision masquerading as damage concern

The Herald reports:

Epsom MP David Seymour says the authority which is planning to ban cars from the summit of has no evidence to support one of its central claims that vehicles are contributing to erosion at the tourist spot.

Mr Seymour also said the Maunga Authority which oversees Auckland’s volcanic cones did not appear to have consulted with the public before extending a ban on heavy vehicles to all cars, which was likely to be enforced by the end of the year.

The Maunga Authority has cited several reasons for the imminent ban, including pedestrian safety, congestion, damage to the mountain, and the preservation of a sacred site.

The first three reasons cited are red herrings for which there is no evidence, to hide the real reason – a religious belief that the spirit of the mountain will be offended by vehicles on it.

Mr Seymour, whose electorate includes Mt Eden, questioned some of the reasons for the ban. The Act Party leader asked the authority under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act for any reports on measurements or estimates of damage caused by vehicles.

The authority’s lead officer, Justine Smith, responded by saying unrestricted access had “raised concerns” about damage to the mountain.

As evidence, she cited a Mt Eden management plan from 2007, which said erosion was “apparent in observations of slips, soil creep, and the filling and shortening of terraces”.

But it did not link this damage to vehicles, instead attributing it to “natural processes”, pedestrians, excavation for utilities, earthworks, and grazing stock. Stock are already banned from the summit.

Mr Seymour said: “Clearly, car-induced erosion is either not occurring or is not a factor in the authority’s move to ban cars – a fact that contradicts the erosion-focused narrative.”

They’re using it as a red herring to hide their real reason.

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